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They say that laughter is the best medicine but, in my opinion, it’s more of a vitamin: better when enjoyed regularly. I have mostly read humorous novels since I was young. When I’m in a good mood, funny books make my day even better. And when I’m going through tough times, they distract me from what I’m up against and give me a much-needed break, even if it’s just for a little while.
These nine fun fiction books are all perfect for when you need a laugh or an escape from reality. Their premises vary wildly, from a destination wedding gone wrong to a Bay Area town overrun by mythological demons to a spaceship after the untimely destruction of Earth. No matter your mood or taste in humor, there’s something for everyone.
Once you’ve read and enjoyed these nine picks, check out these fun self-help books that might not change your habits so much as give you a reason to laugh. After all, advice is good, but jokes are even better. Or, if you’re looking for fun reads with guaranteed happiness forever, feel free to browse this roundup of the funniest romance books. Plus, if you’re not in the mood for a novel, these fun short stories and essays make great reads.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Arthur Dent is perhaps the least remarkable man on Earth, and he is content with the predictability of his life. Until terrible, poetry-loving bureaucratic aliens destroy Earth to build a galactic bypass and Arthur narrowly escapes with a researcher from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – quite a remarkable book for space travelers. Dressed in a bathrobe and towel in hand, Arthur Dent not only survives the destruction of his home planet, but may be closer than he thinks to discovering the answer to life,… universe and everything.
Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutano
Meddelin “Meddy” Chan didn’t want to kill her blind date but, since she did, at least he was a jerk. Thank goodness her aunts are practical, resourceful and don’t mind hiding a body. As their family wedding business prepares for their biggest event yet, Meddy must balance her role as wedding photographer with escaping a murder charge and maybe even getting back together with her ex. boyfriend.
good omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
You can’t go wrong with any of Terry Pratchett’s books if you want a laugh. If you want to dive into a larger series than good omenswho is self-contained, I would recommend Discworld (and you can find a starting path for that here).
If you knew the end of the world would happen in 11 years, what would you do? Aziraphale and Crowley – an angel and a demon who have more in common than their respective sides – have become cozy on Earth, and so their response is to prevent Judgment Day and the coming of the Antichrist. Luckily for them, they aren’t the only ones going through Armageddon.
Genie Lo’s Epic Crush by FC Yee
High-achieving Genie Lo is determined to get into Harvard University, even if it kills her. After her hometown is overrun by mythological demons, Genie decides to temporarily put college admissions on hold. Now it’s up to Genie to defeat these monsters with the help of Quentin, a transfer student who claims to be the living incarnation of Su Wukong, the Monkey King.
My sister, the serial killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
If you like your macabre humor with a twist of the macabre, this thriller is the perfect choice. It’s around the third time her sister Ayoola asks Korede to clean up the body of her slain boyfriend “in self-defense” that Korede suspects her sister of being a serial killer. Still, family is family, and Korede refuses to turn Ayoola into a policeman. But when Ayoola starts dating Korede’s longtime crush, Korede must make a decision that she knows she can’t protect everyone she loves.
Cold Comfort Firm by Stella Gibbons
When young socialite Flora Post is suddenly orphaned, she moves in with her austere parents in the countryside. Rural life is quite an adjustment for Flora, and those close to her seem to find perverse joy in the gloom. But Flora, optimistic as she is, refuses to bear it. She is determined to improve her family’s life, whether she likes it or not.
A confederation of dunces by John Kennedy Toole
Published posthumously in 1980, A confederation of dunces is one of the most frequently voted funniest novels of all time. Ignatius C. Reilly is a 30-year-old neurotic medievalist who thinks those around him have forgotten the wisdom of ancient philosophers. Follow him as he moves from job to job, complains about the modern world, and stumbles into misadventures with an uncomfortable ease to behold.
boobies rich asian by Kevin Kwan
Although economics professor Rachel Chu knows little about her boyfriend Nick’s home life, she says yes when he asks if she will be his plus one at a wedding in Singapore. Little does she know that Nick’s family is one of the richest in the world and that the wedding she and Nick will be attending is a much bigger event than she imagines.
Three men in a boat (to say nothing of the dog) by Jerome K. Jerome
When best friends J., George and Harris go on a boat trip along the Thames, they expect a little relaxation. And maybe they would get it, if they were a little competent. But (fortunately for us) it really isn’t, and the journey becomes one delightful mishap after another.
Honorable Mention: Say nothing about the dog by Connie Willis, a humorous time travel novel with many callbacks to Three men in a boat.
Looking for hilarious books you can share with young readers? Check out this list of the 20 funniest children’s books.